Guest Post: Putin's New Vision Of Eurasia

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John C.K. Daly of

Putin's New Vision Of Eurasia

Many western politicians have harbored deep suspicions of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimorovich Putin since he first emerged on the Russian political stage in 1999.

This is hardly surprising, given his KGB background, though those with longer historical memories will recall that Yuri Andropov came from the same organization and that the West grudgingly found a way to work with him.

While the worst aspects of the Cold War faded away with the peaceful collapse of the USSR in late 1991, twenty years later, trying to figure out Kremlin politics remains as vital an exercise as ever, and the “Putin era” has provided Washington analysts desperately reinventing themselves to hang on to their jobs with rich fodder.

Is Putin a democrat?


Or something in between?

Place your bets.

What does seem to be apparent, with last week’s announcement that current President Dmitrii Medvedev would stand down in next year’s presidential elections, is that Putin is a shoe-in to recover the Russian Federation’s Presidency, and that, since the term has been extended to six years, Western governments will perhaps have to learn to live with him helming the Russian state until 2026.

But one aspect of Russia that has eluded most Washington pundits since 1991 is the fact that Russia a) has developed a free press of sorts, certainly in comparison to the Bad Old Soviet days, and b) that Putin is genuinely popular with many Russians, an observation that many Western liberals find more than a tad irritating.

But to return to basics – what Putin represents is an awareness that dawned late in the USSR, only with the advent of Gorbachev – the power of the media.

In a weird reversal of perceptions, while Gorbachev essentially ignored domestic opinion to cultivate a Western image of “a man with whom we can do business,” to quote Margaret Thatcher, Putin has turned the media equation on its head, appealing to his constituency while essentially ignoring western attitudes.

Suitably miffed, the Western media has rounded on Putin, deriding his efforts to construct a “macho” image a la Indiana Jones, riding horse bare-chested through Siberian rivers, practicing karate, etc. etc. etc.

But there is another audience for Putin’s bravado that the West remains at best dimly aware of – the post-Soviet space. And it is here that his efforts have deeper resonance than most Western observers understand.

In May 2005 while President Putin told Russians that the collapse of the Soviet empire “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” leaving the denizens of the fourteen other nations to emerge from the Soviet debris field wondering exactly what he meant.

On 4 October Putin suggested that ex-Soviet states form a "Eurasian Union" in an article which outlined his first foreign policy initiative as he prepares to return to the Russian presidency, commenting that the organization would build on an existing Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan which beginning in 2012 will remove all barriers to trade, capital and labor movement between the three countries.

Needless to say, Putin’s suggestion has unsettled conservatives worldwide, who believe that he is trying to reassemble the Soviet Union by stealth.

A more dispassionate view of Putin’s proposal indicates that it actually contains more than a modicum of sense.

First, except for economists of the Soviet era, few understand that the collapse of the USSR tore apart a country where economic development was geared to the union as a whole, rather than its constituent republics. To give but one example – all the electric meters for buildings were produced in Lithuania, so after 1991, a Kazakh, Azeri, Russian or Kyrgyz constructing a building and wanting to measure its electrical usage had to deal with – Lithuania.

Given the way that resources, both natural and man-made were distributed across the USSR, the collapse of the country produced consequences which are still playing out.

Secondly, it is more than passing strange that Western capitalists, fierce advocates of “free trade,” should see a darker purpose in Putin’s suggestion – after all, NAFTA in the Western Hemisphere and the EU have developed similar trading principles. In NAFTA, the U.S. is obviously the dominant power, and Germany occupies a similar economic position in the EU, yet few argue that either is seeking to dominate its fellow states.

Last but not least, the reality for the bulk of the post-Soviet space, and including the USSR’s former protectorate over Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation remains Eurasia’s dominant energy superpower, with the exceptions of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and only Azerbaijan has managed to wiggle out from under Moscow’s thumb for its energy exports to the West.

And even those are subject to Russia’s pressures, as the brief August 2009 Russo-Georgian war indicated.

The economic integration of the European Union has hardly led to increased military tensions between EU members – accordingly, for Western observers, they should at least adopt a ‘wait and see” attitude towards Putin’s “Eurasian” suggestions, as closer economic integration could in fact benefit former Soviet states who sign up.

But, at the end of the day, Western negativity towards the proposal may well be grounded in fears that Western investors may find the dynamics of the playing fields in the post-soviet space shifting. The litmus test in the case will be Kazakhstan, whose booming energy sector in the last two decades has attracted more than $120 billion in foreign investment, and whose President Nursultan Nazarbayev had given his support to the “union.”

One of the most striking developments in the post-Soviet space has been the rise of nationalism, and there is little in Putin’s remarks to indicate that he intends to send Russian tanks rolling to reassert Kremlin control.

Sometimes, to quote Sigmund Freud, a cigar is just a cigar, and a customs union is just a customs union – and Moscow has other interlopers to worry about besides Western capitalism – like China, who even the Kremlin’s Marlboro Man has yet to figure out how to counter.

If the last two decades have shown anything, it is that the new nations of the USSR would prefer to interact with the European union, or, better yet – the United States – but the former seems solely interested in their energy assets, while the latter is interested in buying everything that is not bolted down while delivering hectoring human rights lectures to boot.

And Moscow, is, after all, the devil that they know – but Beijing has the yuan, not dollars.

Tough call.

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Spirit Of Truth's picture

Democrat or Stalinist or something in between?


Putin is likely the prophetic Antichrist -

Schmuck Raker's picture

"Putin is like, totally the prophetic Antichrist"



caconhma's picture

Who is Putin? Well, he is

·      A professional assassin with very close association with the Russian Mafia

·      A very corrupt politician and a thief

·      As his predecessor and his mentor Yeltsin, he is an integrated player/member of the world central banking establishment

·      It is just a matter of time before he will be overthrown. He just has no places to run


Shvanztanz's picture

Putin is a toxic, vaporous cloud of Terminator 2 style oozing morph grease that changes form at will, travels through time and wears a cloak of lizard skin stripped from the Kimodo dragon. He walks through walls, he leaves nasty notes to your friends, signed in your name, he unplugs alarm clocks everywhere in the middle of night before life changing interviews with potential employers, he cheated me out of 2 dollars when I was 8 years old, he left the water running when I went on vacation, he got drunk and told my girlfriend what I really thought of her, he talked me into buying that house in 2007, he took my sister to my prom when she was only in 9th grade, he printed four trillion dollars worth of fiat, he says that everything I write is trite and cliche, where is this mother fucker! Justice! It's time for Justice! And Payback! I'll be back. I have to go sharpen a stake at both ends.

Titus's picture

Russians only respect strength. Putin is viewed as the strongest man in Russia. The ONLY rule of law in Russia is leverage and might. The rest of this media analysis is bullshit. If Putin can reunite the former colonies he will. It's either progress or stagnation and death. If you're not progressing someone else will view you as weak and try to take the Czar's crown. 

Putin's new child and the future Czar of Russia was recently born of a mid-20 year old Russian gymnist.

He's setting up a dynasty so there's no need to run.

BorisTheBlade's picture

Very simplistic even if with a grain of truth in it. Strength is something of a value, definitely, but if you look back even at the 20th century, Russia always needed to be 'strong' to even survive, such as its geopolitical position in the world. It's not the island UK or island US separated by the sea or even better ocean from potential invaders. Americans are bitching about Mexicans slipping through the border, try Chinese in Siberia or radicals from Central Asia or Caucus. Strength in this case is not a choice, it's a necessity and even a burden.

And no, Putin is not the strongest man in Russia, these characters among recent would be I say stronger in a pure sense of this word:

Both are combat generals with political ambitions, both curiously dead, both could radically change Russia's posture and aggressiveness, one had a chance to win the elections, second to stage a successful coup d'etat. Putin, if anything, is just a pragmatic. He needs to appear as strong to address popular demand, he does that, but no more than necessary. Hence posturing shirtless or messing on tatami, which in the end says more about power of the media than the man's strength. In fact, I think as a former intelligence officer he is used to a much less flashy appearance, but being pragmatic he realizes that if it's not him, then it's somebody else - quite possibly much more radical as well.

Creating customs union with Kazakhstan and other former republics is again pragmatic decision. In the end for how long WTO that rests predominantly on the US ability to consume whatever the rest of the world produces can be sustained? And why rush into organization that is in the state of the permanent crisis and will be hostage Sino-US flexing going forward? It's stupid, it's like rushing onto Titanic as the last passenger. Why West is perceiving or portraying it as a hidden restoration of Soviet Union? I think it views as a threat any competition and this one creates precedent for, alternative to global in scale WTO, regional organization. This is dangerous as potentially sets example for others.

Raymond Reason's picture

Great comment!  I agree.  The West is completely hypocritical in their attitude towards Putin.  Where was the outcry when Bush Senior (former CIA chief) was President?  Russian is the language in which most business is conducted among the CIS, and so it makes sense from a practical standpoint to remove artificial barriers to trade. 

Quite frankly, the reason Putin is so hugely popular with Russians, is because Russians feel that he has Russia's best interests at heart.  Can you name a politician here who does not openly advance his own interests, or that of a portion of the population?  Maybe Paul. 

He was demonized by the West for nationalizing Yukos Oil.  Well, Russians see that as taking back from the Oligarchs, a piece of what was carved up and distributed by the West. 

Oh yes, the West has been successful in exporting "democracy" to the Russians.  And what came with it was mafia style capitalism and corruption of the youth; i.e. graffiti, tattoos, rap music, homosexual values and practices....Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, missionaries who speak in tongues, but can't speak in a second tongue, i could go on.  Yeah, it's no mystery why he's popular. 

barkster's picture

LOL - Putin might be upsetting the bilderburg apple cart.


My favorite line: "one aspect of Russia that has eluded most Washington pundits since 1991 is the fact that Russia a) has developed a free press of sorts". Now I will complete that sentence: "one aspect of Russia that has eluded most Washington pundits since 1991 is the fact that Russia a) has developed a free press of sorts, unlike the US".  Pravda of the 1970's is not very different from the CNN of today.

cossack55's picture

So, does this mean we will go to permanent war for permanent peace with Eurasia first, and then Eastasia?  I'll ask Winston or O'Brian.

Cynical Sidney's picture

putin is a strong handed thug, a control nut who centralizes every aspect of russian affairs. he's a homo gone mad with power like adolf. He likes to treat other politicians to his harem of whores, secretly videotape the encounters then watch them and jerk off

as long as the dictator for life continues to hijack democracy russians will never know freedom and liberty. putin needs to be brought to account for his crimes: journalists assassinations, black op false flag operations, apartment bombings, nuclear isotope poisonings etc.


Spitzer's picture

I just wish he had the balls to put all of his US dollars on the COMEX

(Unrelated blog post)

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

I am a big fan of unrelated blog posts.  Check out the latest from the Capital Research Institute, "Jubilee, An Idea Whose Time Has Come"

UP Forester's picture

Yeah, reporters who criticize Putin seem to have the life expectancy of whistleblowers on the last half-dozen-or-so U.S. administrations....

DormRoom's picture

Putin is a neo-Csarist.  The aristocracy has been replaced by former KGB Putin loyalists.  He can't exit power, because if he does, he becomes politically weak, and his numerous enemies will off him.


As long as he can provide favors, and positions for the ex-KGB vanguard his security is assured.  He'll win the election and serve another 12 years.  It's plenty of time to distribute wealth, prestige, and power to the  KGBtocracy.  And they will keep him safe.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

None of this really matters to the USA.  All we need to do is keep cool re Russia (and China,) and everything will work out fine...

IF we get OUR house in order!

Ron Paul 2012!

Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Right you are DCRB... I especially like this bit...

"If the last two decades have shown anything, it is that the new nations of the USSR would prefer to interact with the European union, or, better yet – the United States – but the former seems solely interested in their energy assets, while the latter is interested in buying everything that is not bolted down while delivering hectoring human rights lectures to boot."

Yes, without Russia's energy assets the EU growth would slow drastically...and if Russia/China are really on the outs why are the enormous oil/gas pipelines linking the two countries being built?

...and, who is the US to deliver lectures on human rights while the US has the worlds largest prison system (a privatized industry), filled with 'felons' that have used various drugs that the US has deemed illegal. The US has more prisoners in jail per capita than any other nation on earth! ... not to mention those prisioners that are disappeared to various foreign countries for imprisonment and/or torture.

In addition, the US starts wars on the flimsiest pretexts anywhere and everywhere... well, everywhere that energy exists in the ground or profitable drugs grow above ground.

This article is another example of 'when things go wrong at home, point fingers elsewhere'... Putin and his KGB/oligarch pals are boy scouts compared to the US bought and paid for politicians and the bankers that do the buying.

Prepare yourself for a lot more of this type drivel as all fiat currencies slide toward the dust bin of history. Hey! it can't possibly be the fault of the dollar reserve currency... It must be the fault of the Euro, or China, or Russia or _______ fill in the blank.

no2foreclosures's picture

Putin is a Russian.  That means he will do whatever hell it takes to preserve and defend Mother Russia from the "Axis of the Righteous."

". . . since 1991 is the fact that Russia a) has developed a free press of sorts . . ."

There is more truth and honesty displayed on Russia Today (RT) than all of ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX/CNN/PBS/NPR combined.

DormRoom's picture

free press?


Didn't Putin authorize an assasination on a former Russian journalist in the UK?  The method of assasination was radioactive poisining.


Speaking of fascist regime, what's up with America, and your death list?  Apparently the president can authorize drone strike against US citizens (terrorists), without due process.  In effect a robotic aerial death squad.  wtf America... liberty, and justice under the law?  Seems inconsistent for the US to go outside the law to protect liberty.

no2foreclosures's picture

UK is where all the despots and banksters and Russian oligarchs go when their gig is up.

english serf's picture

Yep, they fit right in with our ruling elite

Shvanztanz's picture

It must be tight around the banquet table with all this Oligarchs flooding in.

"Pardon me, me droogie, but that's my dish of lemon water."

Sooner or later even Oligarchs have to be saying, "if we get any more Oligarchs in here, it's going to be hard to tell who the Oligarch's are."

Is there a secret Oligarch handshake?

I'll tell you what, if I was an Oligarch, and people kept showing up at my bar-b-que and giving me the secret shake, that shit would get old, round about the time the beer started getting low. And you can bet that I wouldn't be breaking out the tequilla shots until the crowd thinned out, and I wouldn't think twice about calling the bobbies about a noise complaint at my own house, just to get rid of a few Oligarchs enough to be sure me and my homies got to settle down on the party favors.

You dig it the most.

jaffa's picture

Eurasia is a geographical continent. It is also a socio political supercontinent comprising the socio political continents of Europe and Asia, with Eurasia in this concept being a portmanteau of the two. Physiographically, it is a single continent the concepts of Europe and Asia as distinct continents date back to antiquity and their borders are geologically arbitrary. Thanks.
toronto personal trainer

jaffa's picture

The Silk Road symbolizes trade and cultural exchange linking Eurasian cultures through history and has been an increasingly popular topic. Over recent decades the idea of a greater Eurasian history has developed with the aim of investigating the genetic, cultural and linguistic relationships between European and Asian cultures of antiquity. These had long been considered distinct. Thanks.
Toronto Criminal Lawyer

niccolo and donkey's picture

"Didn't Putin authorize an assasination on a former Russian journalist in the UK?  The method of assasination was radioactive poisining."


No he didn't, unless you have some evidence to the contrary.

HL Shancken's picture

Scotland Yard has the evidence and it is conclusive that Andrei Lugovoi acted on behalf of the government of Russia when he flew from Moscow to London and administered to Alexander Litvinenko a lethal dose of pollonium 210. The British government issued an official report in this case and called for the extradition of Lugovoi to stand trial for the murder. The facts in this case are clear and well documented and your denial is hollow.

no2foreclosures's picture

Scotland Yard?  You mean the CIA or Mossad of the limeys?

nomoreoil's picture

Berezovski stated they had 1g of plutonium. Do a search what such amount means, how it is handled and what would be consequences if that was true.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

Just stick to "donkey".

I ran "The Litvinenko Chronicles" at TFP prior to the Polonium assassination of this key FSB defector by 'former KGB' siloviki. Alexander ("Sasha") Litvinenko revealed that Ayman al Zawahiri was trained by Russia's intelligence services and al Qaeda is a proxy through which Moscow has continued to carry out international terrorism for strategic purposes.  I believe in exposing this Alex sealed his fate since such truth was too sensitive to be put "out there". (Even though the odds of the West figuring out it's being had by the East has always been remote at best. "Western intelligence" remains a profound oxymoron. )

Cyrano de Bivouac's picture

Putin didn't attack Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We will  attack Iran and Syria  no doubt  in the future.

Let them eat iPads's picture

Putin takes care of Russia first.

When was the last time the US had a leader like that?

Ahmeexnal's picture

Geronimo. He was fighting for his Apache people.

Schmuck Raker's picture

+2 makes up for the dweeb that downed you.

Shvanztanz's picture

Who knew, in 1984, when I was 9, when the thing I feared beyond any bogey man, beyond any devil, beyond lizards from outerspace, were none other than the Russians, who had the god-less intent to incinerate us in our beds or at our school desks in the midst of class with an infinite arsenal of nuclear missiles, and were bent on nothing short of the complete conquest of the earth that now, that 25 years later, more or less, people are openly hailing a Russian autocrat, like he was Ron Paul with a functioning cock, Robin Hood with titanium wolverine claws, night vision eye ball implants, who can see the future and freeze evil in its tracks with a ray gun mounted on the moon.

I mean, if Bob Dylan thought he knew what change was, then he and BHO would both be fanning their faces in a cloud of bewilderment, the day that up became down, left became right and even I didn't have anything else to say.

baby_BLYTHE's picture

viva la Putin! While not perfect leader, he is one that truly cares about his people.

I dare anyone to deny the progress of the Russian economy under his leadership. Remember he took over at a time Russia was in a state of Total Collapse after the fall of the Union in the early 1990s then the crisis that hit Russia during the Asian crisis in the late 90s.


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

"la" Putin?  El Putin if you write in Spanish.

Cynical Sidney's picture

Let them eat iPads, baby_BLYTHE:

putin is the most cunning of dictators, he's down right dangerous. his fsb actively runs clandestine programs, cooperating with crime bosses with backgrounds inside the former kgb structure, together they control a harem of young working girls, pretty fresh faces, who are sent to solicit sex to people who putin deems important. putin currently holds a library of sex videotapes of domestic and international dignitaries, he could easily use which to blackmail the world community. putin needs to be brought to account for his crimes: journalists assassinations, black op false flag operations, apartment bombings, nuclear isotope poisonings etc.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

viva la Putin! While not perfect leader, he is one that truly cares about his people.

R u people for real?!  Seriously....WTF?!

beholder08's picture

Do you want me to tell you a similar story about 9/11?

ZippyDooDah's picture

"...he is the one that truly cares about his people."

He is the one that truly cares about establishing a new Russian ruling class, to replace the old Communist Party.



Western's picture

I have a nagging feeling Putin is trying to bargain himself entry into the illuminati, he'll send Russia to hell in exchange for that.

A strong russia is a better bargaining chip than a weak russia, da?

barkster's picture

hmmmm. interesting perspective.

G-R-U-N-T's picture


"Putin takes care of Russia first."

Putin takes care of Putin first you idiot!



caconhma's picture

People. You are full of shit. You know nothing about Russia. You don't know shit you are taking about. You are pathetic.

Raging Debate's picture

Correct. Putin doesn't jack the simple petty drug trade and other games the little guy plays to make a living. The entire country is one giant mafia but at least they are not jailing the desperate.

As for geopolitics, you always have to watch the Bear even if you don't like it. But the US has been far more aggressive since 1991 and it's hard to say as an American now that Russia is bad and the US is good. They both smell but Russia seems on the ascent based on a brilliant global energy consolidation strategy and the US spent too much on empirical grandstanding bullshit.

I know it is unlikely over the coming decade of turbulence that either country can firm up relations which is too bad. Would love to see more scientific collaboration together which worked well with the space program in the 1990's.

maxw3st's picture

And the Chauvinism of the West rears its ugly head yet again.

gwar5's picture

Putin's a fascist who has learned from the US model that military occupation is not required to control a country and it's people. Controlling the money and the debt is all that is required. Economic hit men make that happen. No need to use messy and expensive heavy police state. That's sooo 19th century.



LawsofPhysics's picture

There it is, and at the end of the day Mother Russia is preserved.  I have been to St. Petersburg many times, great people.  Programmed, but great.  Unlike America, there is no diversity only Russians who understand markets and those who don't, in both cases they are Russians first.  Good luck getting that kind of cohesiveness in America.

gwar5's picture

How are they for political correctness? I think they invented multiculturalism to export to the West to subvert us into destroying ourselves, old school. Brilliant. It worked.